Historical mortars dating from OSL signals of fine grain fraction enriched in quartz

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In the last years the mortar dating through Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) techniques has become a viable support for chronological estimations (date of construction or restoration episodes) of historical buildings. However, the dating of mortar has still open issues mainly regarding the assessment of the bleaching degree of quartz, the analysis of the OSL processes for this type of samples and the need to do appropriate tests for the most correct evaluation of the equivalent dose. This paper discusses the results obtained by OSL dating (blue diode stimulation) on the polymineral fine grain phase, enriched in quartz, extracted from lime mortar samples collected from different sites. Thermal transfer effects, through the behaviour of Equivalent Dose (ED) and recovery tests, degree and time of bleaching were studied. For each mortar sample the adjacent brick was collected; in some cases, sampling of the bricks bracketing a mortar layer was a possibility, thus obtaining a direct comparison with the standard thermoluminescence (TL) dating on the bricks.

The results obtained show, for this set of samples, the possibility of dating the mortars through the use of the fine grain fraction provided of a suitable chemical-physical preparation procedure and the verification of the bleaching conditions.

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